What is influenza?
Influenza, also known as flu, is caused by the influenza virus. An infection with influenza can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract, causing a person to develop (high) fever, muscle aches, a sore throat, cough, headache and chills. There are many different influenza viruses and they can also change rapidly. As a result, people can get influenza repeatedly.
How do you get influenza?
The influenza virus spreads through droplets of mucus and saliva. An infected person spreads these droplets by, for example, coughing, sneezing and talking.
What can you do to prevent influenza?
Under the National Flu Prevention Programme (NPG), a large group of people in the Netherlands are vaccinated against the flu every year. If you do not fall into this group, you can still be vaccinated at vaccinatiecentrum.nl. Besides vaccination, you can also prevent infection in other ways. For example, try to avoid physical contact with people who have symptoms of the flu as much as possible.
How does the influenza vaccination work?
The influenza vaccine, also known as the flu shot, is an inactivated vaccine which means it contains bits of inactivated influenza viruses. The vaccine causes the body to produce antibodies against the types of influenza viruses included in the vaccine, protecting you against the viruses. Vaccinatiecentrum.nl uses a quadrivalent vaccine, which means it provides protection against four influenza viruses that could potentially be the most pathogenic for that year.
What protection does the influenza vaccination offer?
The flu vaccination consists of one shot. Because there are many different influenza viruses and they also change rapidly, the vaccine is updated every year. for this update research is being done on which different influenza virus types are expected to be most prevalent that year. For this reason, the degree of protection may vary each year, and the vaccination does not provide long-term protection.
In general, the vaccine provides protection for six months, protecting you for one flu season against the variants circulating at that time. Usually the flu season starts in December, but sometimes it starts earlier or later. The flu shot is available from November. After getting the vaccination, it takes two weeks to reach maximum protection.
Can I get the influenza vaccination if I am pregnant?
The flu shot is safe for pregnant women and their unborn child. Women who are pregnant for 22 weeks or more during the flu season can get a free flu shot through the National Flu Prevention Programme (NPG).
New-born infants have an increased risk of complications from influenza. When women get an influenza vaccination during pregnancy, their child is also better protected after birth. This is because the antibodies produced by the mother after receiving the vaccine are passed on to the unborn child through the placenta.
How much will an influenza vaccination cost?
The influenza vaccine, also known as the flu shot, is offered free annually to people who have an increased risk of becoming very ill from an infection. If you fall outside this risk group, you can get vaccinated at your own expense. If you have supplementary health insurance, a flu shot is sometimes covered by your health insurance.
For more information on the cost of a flu shot, please visit our prices page.